The Art House is a social centre and performance venue in the heart of Southampton.
Performance events (online and from June 2021, in person / hybrid)
Workshops, groups and meetings
A community pantry where you can drop in and pay-as-you-feel for meals
Coffee, tea, vegan cake and snacks are also available when we are open and we have a licensed bar during performance events
On site you will find a preloved clothing boutique and crafty kits for sale from Southampton Scrapstore.
Art exhibitions are planned for later in 2021.
Please see our calendar for when we are open and what’s on.
We have carried out risk assessments and continue to revise and implement new procedures for social distancing and hygiene in our space to keep you safe. We take the pandemic very seriously and are committed to following the science whilst still providing a space for those who need it in these challenging times. We are a mask positive space and will encourage mark wearing and social distancing as long as the threat from the pandemic continues.
All of our planned events will follow the current government guidance on social distancing, masks and other safety measures and we are planning to keep a degree of measures in place after 21 June, in line with advice given by the WHO, Public Health England the the Independent Sage group – with a tendency to err on the side of caution. If you have any questions about our Covid safety, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to somebody when you are here.
Check out our performance events here.
Having trouble getting into an online event?
You will have been sent to link to join by email, it is at the bottom of your confirmation from Eventbrite – if this is not working please pop to the Facebook event and post there and somebody will assist you as soon as possible.
When you visit
We have included as much info as we can (thanks so much to our community members for ongoing feedback on what this should be) but if you need to know anything in advance of your visit, please contact us using the form at the bottom of these FAQs – we realise that folks need a variety of info to feel able to come to a space, so please do get in touch.
When you are here, please speak to the cafe co-ordinator about anything you need and we’ll always do our best for you.
Accessibility info – physical accessibility
The Bunker, where most of our events take place, has level access via a wide door from Above Bar Street, an accessible toilet and a variety of seating inside with space to move between tables. The door is often open and has a bell so that somebody can open in for you if needed.
The window space which contains the Boutique, part of the pantry and one table is up one small step. Some tables might be on our stage area which is one small step up.
Upstairs events on our first floor will be accessed via a wide staircase with two turns and bannisters either side. This space is not yet open so we will add more info as we get it ready.
The workshop/maker space is on the second floor, accessed via a standard sized staircase with two bends and bannisters on each side. There is a toilet on the second floor.
What the environment is like
The downstairs space usually has background music, a coffee machine and grinder and varied lighting – during events there is moving/coloured lighting and we have a good PA so it can be quite loud.
The window space is quieter and we are able to reduce the volume of music and intensity of lighting if needed during social events and groups – this is not usually possible during gigs.
Ambient sound wise, there is traffic noise outside from passing busses and motorcycles and some sound from our ventilation system inside – this is keeping the air circulating but isn’t 100% quiet. Once our upstairs is done, a quieter ‘chill out’ space is planned for there. We also have beautiful parks across the road and behind us should you need some time out, nature and fresh air. It is always OK to step out when you need to, even outside of breaks, please do so as quietly as you can manage though.
Stimming and moving
Our space was founded by neurodivergent people and you are free to stim when you need to during groups, socials and workshops. Please do use your own discretion and awareness of others during performances, if you need to move around let us know and we’ll seat you accordingly. You can also usually move your seating to feel more comfortable and to allow for social distancing.
If you need to get up or leave during an event or performance, this is fine, please do try to cause as little disturbance as you can though.
Dancing during musical performances is always OK, please do be mindful of social distancing, though.
You may also want to read our Safer Spaces agreement here
Performance setup, times, arrival, breaks etc
The time shown on our performance listings is a doors open time. Unless otherwise stated, we open the space 30 minutes before show start time to give you a chance to get settled and have a drink and to avoid standing queues outside. If you arrive before this, we will try to find a place for you to chill out but please do be aware that we might need to set up before we allow people in and have to wait for our staff to open up.
Please arrive on time for performances as we have no indoor lobby or waiting area so late arrivals can cause disturbance. If you do arrive late for a performance in our downstairs Bunker, we please wait in the covered entrance and we will let you in at an appropriate moment.
We have a no jibber-jabber policy for shows, so please if you want to have a conversation, do so before or during the break or take it outside or to a different part of the space, so that everyone can enjoy the performance.
At present, all performance events are seated at tables with limited numbers and social distancing. Once restrictions lift, we will gradually increase capacity but there will always be a choice of seating including chairs with back support, and part of the audience will be seated.
All of our toilets are gender neutral.
We have one toilet on the ground floor which has wheelchair access and a changing table. This toilet is well ventilated and cleaned regularly for Covid safety.
The toilet on the second floor is usually for staff use or for those using the workshop/maker space, however when busy we do open this to reduce waiting times.
During an event it is possible to pop up and use the loo any time, we also do factor in breaks roughly every hour to allow for comfort stops.
Ordering and Payment
At present we are offering table / seated service only, please order and pay from your seat to avoid queues.
Card payment is preferred for everyone’s safety, but we can take cash if needed.
Some of our events and meals are pay-as-you-feel as are groceries from the pantry. There is a suggested donation in some cases but no pressure to pay more than you can afford or to donate at all if you cannot.
We will always provide drinking water if requested and refill bottles for anyone who asks, free – of course. Covid safety allowing, we will reinstate our help-yourself water station for events.
Food and drink
At community cafe events there will be vegan soup available with allergy information. Some performance events will have the option to preorder food or snacks available. We will generally have cakes, light snacks like crisps, nuts and chocs available (all vegan). Please do not bring your own food to events unless it is a food sharing event (unless you have strict dietary requirements or are feeding small children, in which case it is fine to do so).
We have a licenced bar, speciality coffees, tea in proper pots and a range of soft drinks. All drinks are vegan-friendly. Please note that we are a challenge 25 space and will ask for ID if you look 25 or younger! We will also not serve alcohol anyone who is already intoxicated, or who is behaving in a way that makes others in the space feel less safe.
Parking – car, motorcycle, eScooter and bicycle
Parking info for the city can be found here
Our nearest carparks are Bedford Place and Grosvenor Square/Grosvenor Square North multi storey, Kings Park Road long stay. There are disabled bays in Park Walk (long stay) and at City Centre Forecourt (short stay).
The nearest motorcycle bays are on Park Walk and Commercial Road.
We are on a main cycle route and you can plan your cycle here.
We have a Voi scooter parking bay directly opposite and cycle racks across the road in Above Bar Street.
Our nearest train station is Southampton Central (11 minute walk with a slight uphill for half of it – up on the way to us, down on the way back).
Wifi and power
We have Wifi you can use, please ask for the password when you arrive. There are a few places to plug in laptops and phone chargers, please ask.
Dogs and other non-human companions
Well behaved dogs and other non-human companions are welcome! Please do keep them on leads/harnesses on in carry cages and make sure we get to meet them!
Please dress however you feel most comfortable for our events. Fancy dress is always appropriate here (no, really) and a lot of people do dress up for shows or just to visit, but not everyone does so there is no pressure at all to wear finery, just come as you are. Clothing and makeup has no gender, please express yourself however you wish.
Children are welcome – we are sorry that our toy box has been lost to Covid safety though so please bring something to entertain them if you need to. Please do supervise kids at all times as the space is not set up to be totally child safe. We can always do smaller drinks and portions for children, just ask. If you do bring food and snacks for kids, please respect our space by keeping these veggie.
Performers, artists, hirers and makers
At the moment we are deciding how art exhibitions will fit into our programme – please bear with us and keep an eye on our social media. We will not be selling crafts onsite for the forseeable future, sorry!
If you are a performer who would like to play or hold a show here, please bear with us as we deal with outstanding queries from pre the first lockdown – give us a follow on social media where will be update on the application process.
We will be recruiting volunteers, soon, please join our mailing list for details of when this happens.
If you need to ask anything that isn’t answered here, please contact us using the form below